Every year we go to Pacific Beach and stay at The Beach Cottages with Gavin's family for a week. In the past it's been the best of times and the worst of times. Mainly because juggling babies and their schedules was stressful for me. I don't know if it was that hard on the babies...but for me, being completely off the schedule, just about undid me.
This year things have been quite smooth...quite easy. It's been the best of times...period.
Dalton and the "big" cousins have gotten along great. There is plenty to keep them busy- surf lessons, boogie boarding, digging in the sand, and just hanging out on the beach. Even though he and Jeffery and Jackson and Ali are different ages and have very different interests they all mesh together very well. Dalton has come in to his own, where he's not just tagging along- he is one of the gang.
Today they loved their surf lessons. The weather...like every day, has been just about picture perfect. Warm enough to dry the kids off quickly when they come in from the beach, but not too hot for me to lay out like a giant manatee all day.
Today Shelby and Garrett went boogie boarding. Gavin helped them. They both loved it. It's so great to see Shelby master things that are intimidating to her. All of the cousins are so coordinated.
While the big kids boogie board, the parents dig giant holes for the little kids to play in. The moms read magazines and visit. It's pretty heavenly. Today I got a little too much sun. It's always so tempting. Karen and I talk "mommy makeovers". I hem and haw about whether to try to really work out in the future and get my flabby stomach in tip top shape, with it's Dalton-caused stretch marks, or to just give in and let a doctor do some pullin', rippin' and stitchin' to get it looking perfect.
At the beach each family takes a night to cook for the entire group. We reserve the outdoor entertaining area of the complex...turn on the music...and have a great time every evening. The first night Susan, Gavin's sister, made wonderful pulled pork sandwiches, cole slaw, squash casserole with fresh squash from the farmer's market next door, and baked beans. For desert she did a homemade berry cobbler with vanilla ice cream.
The next night it was Karen's turn. She did barbecue chicken, rolls, yummy cucumber salad and cupcakes from Sprinkles (thank you Uncle Howard). After the meal, we went out to the beach and played wiffle ball as the sun was setting. Everyone could hit the ball. It brought everyone together. Moms, dads, girls, boys, old and young could all take turns. Dalton, Ali and Jackson loved playing outfield with Uncle Howard.
Eventually it got colder and the adults closed down the game. But not before someone found an old bra that had been left on the beach (gross) and Gavin and Dalton used it as a catapult to pitch the wiffle ball with. The life guards came on over their speakers and said they were going home. Gavin and Dalton went to Grandma's hotel room after to play board games while I put the little kids to bed.
Tonight was another great night. Gavin and I did our gourmet burgers for the second or third year in a row. Sliders with scallions and garlic. On top people could combine caramelized onions, bacon, sharp cheddar, avocado, farm stand tomatoes, blue cheese, and spicy mustard in whatever combination they wanted.
There was corn on the cob, potato salad, and baked beans on the side. Gavin grilled brats and hot dogs as well. For desert Martha and Deven made brownies, and Karen provided rootbeer floats. We jammed to some more music while we ate. The kids had some pretty impressive moves. Afterwards it was another game of wiffle ball.
Shelby had been intimidated by the wiffle ball yesterday. Tonight she decided to give it a go. Gavin was the patient pitcher again. She rocked it. Several times she had great hits and ran and ran and ran. She even got the sliding in to home thing down. She was pumped. Dalton, of course, had a great time. He loves anything that has to do with sports and athletics. After the night was over the cousins retreated to their different beach cottages to watch movies.
Shelby has collected a hundred shells already this trip. Garrett has been happy and fun. Knock on wood- it's been a great trip.